“With heavy hearts we watched our elders march to Delhi, and spend over 100 nights being abused by the order of the Indian government. What could we possibly do?” - The Kisaan Sleepout Organization
Sitting here in Vancouver, Canada, three students asked themselves this very question.
How could they support the farmers marching from their fields in Punjab to the borders of Delhi? How could they show the world that they are not alone in their fear and anger around the new farm acts, which were undemocratically passed by the Parliament of India?
Jennifer Multani, Navjot Mannan, and Gajinder Chatha wanted to raise awareness for the plight of our farmers, thousands of miles away here in BC, through the Kisaan Sleepout Organization.
But what started off as an initiative organized by three students, became so much more.
The Kisaan Sleepout demonstration came to fruition when Jennifer, Navjot and Gajinder decided to rally their local communities in hopes of emulating the conditions of the protests in India. The concept was simple: they would be marching downtown, and setting up camp to spend the night protesting in front of the Indian Consulate in Vancouver. The goal of the event was not only to raise awareness, but to call the British Columbian and Canadian government to action, to condemn the treatment of these protesters by the government, and to demand a peaceful resolution.
Although both branches of government have made statements against the treatment of farmers in India, the organizers knew that it wasn’t enough. The cost of not speaking out was simply too high.
“We need to do better!” stated Gajinder during the first Kisaan Sleep Out Event.
“There are no excuses for the passing of these bills without the input of farmers. There are no excuses as to why this protest has gone on for over 100 days with no solution. There are no excuses for tens of thousands of people being stripped of their basic human rights.”
With over 100 members of the community attending the first demonstration, the Kisaan Sleepout demonstration was a huge success. However, the organizers knew they still needed to do more.
When speaking about the myriad of human rights violations that took place in Delhi, organizer Navjot stated, “although I don't know much about laws and agriculture, my nursing education has taught me a lot about humanity. And the behaviour of the Indian police displays exactly the opposite.”
They realized yet again, that their work was not done.
As long as the farmers continued to stand for their rights, they would stand by them, and hope that others would too.
“If our families and elders hadn’t immigrated here for the betterment of our lives, we would have been right alongside these farmers, standing for our rights and our freedoms in the face of undemocratic practices,” said Jennifer.
The organizers are now asking the community to stand with them once more, because the fight is not yet over, and we cannot let the momentum around the farmers protest fade out. Our lineages are depending on it.
Join the Kisaan Sleepout Organization on Friday March 26th, at 5pm to show support for the farmers in India by peacefully protesting in front of the Indian Consulate.
Learn more about the event on Instagram